The Evolution of Beauty: How Darwin's Forgotten Theory of Mate Choice Shapes the Natural World—and Us


Thursday, May 11, 2017, 6:00pm


Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street

Photo of Richard O. Prum

Richard O. Prum, William Robertson Coe Professor of Ornithology and Head Curator of Vertebrate Zoology, Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University

Can adaptation by natural selection truly account for everything we see in nature? How do animal mating displays and mate choice drive evolutionary change? What insights can they offer about the evolution of human sexuality? Drawing from his new book, The Evolution of Beauty, Richard Prum will consider Charles Darwin’s long-neglected theory of sexual selection, in which the act of choosing a mate for purely aesthetic reasons is an independent engine of evolutionary change. In a reimagining of how evolutionary forces work, Prum will reveal how mating preferences—what Darwin termed "the taste for the beautiful"—create the extraordinary range of ornament in the natural world.

The Evolution Matters Lecture Series is supported by a generous gift from Drs. Herman and Joan Suit.

This program is located at the Geological Lecture Hall, 24 Oxford Street.
Free parking is available at the 52 Oxford Street Garage.
Free and open to the public.